By LOU TISCIONE
What you don’t know can hurt you. There are times when ignorance will lead you to ruin.
The most damaging ignorance concerns one’s soul. Jesus said, “Fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” And, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” And, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 10:28, 39; 16:26)
All of these words are strong and clear. Ignorance of God and of what He said can hurt you. Only knowing God and the one He sent, Jesus Christ, will save your soul. We know that what God has said is true. God said that men are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Yet there was a time that men sought to usurp God’s authority. These men were in the church rather than outside of her. They were false teachers and false leaders of God’s people. They sought to manipulate the people of God to find their hope in them rather than God.
But God in His sovereign providence raised up godly men to call the church to submit to God’s word. One of these men was an Augustinian priest. His name was Martin Luther. History records his action of rebuking the church as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
We have just celebrated his action. The date was Oct. 31, 1517. Martin Luther nailed 95 theses (complaints) on the Wittenberg church door against the magisterium of the church. His action was a result of another monk who was doing “fund raising” in Germany. This monk’s name was Tetzel. This unscrupulous man was put in charge of the sale of indulgences in Germany. He was “heard announcing that the indulgence that they sold made the sinner cleaner than when coming out of baptism and cleaner than Adam before the Fall and that the cross of the seller of indulgences has as much power as the cross of Christ.” One of Tetzel’s more evil pronouncements was, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.” (The previous quotes were taken from “The Story of Christianity” by Justo L. Gonzalez, Vol. 2.)